Intuitive Visualization in Meditation

May 4, 2009




We just had a comment from someone who has a hard time with visualizations in meditation. So do I! Actually, I almost never enjoy a meditation that tells you to see this and see that. The more specific the instructions are for exactly what to visualize, the worse it is for me. As I’m working to construct the tree or light or animal or whatever it is I am to see, the guide is already on to the next image. I can never catch up and I’m so busy working on coming up with the visualization that I can’t really relax and get whatever it is I am supposed to get by seeing the image.

Though most of my meditations don’t involve visualization, I know that it can be very powerful. I do use a form of visualization in a few of the guided meditations (Intuitive Healing and Inner Child meditations are examples). I like to call what I do “intuitive visualization”. It’s what I do on my own sometimes for myself. It’s something we all do spontaneously when we daydream. I just suggest that you let something appear, such as a helper, and allow it to appear in whatever way it comes. It can be clear or vague. It may not even come as a image — it could be something felt or heard. It could come through any of the senses — touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell. Or it could just be a feeling sense. A helper, for example, could just be an energetic “presence”. This way of visualizing, which perhaps would be better called “intuiting”, works best for me and I like it in general because it allows you to draw on your own inner, creative resources to come up with just the perfect thing for you.

I know the other kind of visualization meditation, or imagery as its often called, works well for some people. What about you? What works best for you?


11 Responses to “Intuitive Visualization in Meditation”

  1. Ad_Astra on May 4th, 2009 6:48 pm

    Good point! Actually, this is why the chakra meditation from your podcast is my favorite one among many others. In many meditations of this kind the voice in my earphones goes like “and now you should see a rotating ball of some color, and this ball gives you a sense of something”… which totally distracts me, because I have to force seeing something which is not made by my own intuition and imagination! Your podcast is not like that, and, I’m sure, many listeners do appreciate that :)

  2. Mary on May 5th, 2009 9:06 am

    Thanks for your comment, Ad_Astra. In addition to being easier, it seems like it’s so much more effective to let the visualization come from within ourselves. I think it helps develop the intuition. And reflecting more on this I also see that we are in different states each time we meditate and so the visualization that comes would be different each time and related to what we need at that time.

  3. Eleanor on October 18th, 2010 6:49 am

    I had some hard time with visualization because my mind seemed to wander off once I started the visualizing part of a meditation. I found the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius difficult because “the use of the 5 senses” is a very important part in these spiritual exercises.

    Later on I realized that I had difficulties in visualization because I doubted the content of my imagination. Very often I treated the mental pictures as distractions and quickly discarded them. Once I overcome this doubt, it becomes easier for me to follow guided meditations using visualizations.

  4. Mary on October 18th, 2010 9:12 am

    Great, Eleanor, it’s a gift to be able to use the faculty of imagination in this way.

  5. Dara on March 27th, 2011 10:39 am

    i find that i cannot visualize anything if i’m asked to do so. i’ve been working on developing a space…a mental room that i can go to that will hopefully serve a a multi purpose room. so far all i’ve got is a door…that i open into a room of misty light that i’m suddenly standing in the middle of. i’m not really sure what to do with that…i’ve tried changing the light to rainbows…or bubbles…or feathers even..something soothing …nothing really sticks but the light…so i guess that’s what i have…a room of misty light where i sit on a very beautiful carved pedestal…it feels more like a protective room where nothing can get to me…which i’m sure defeats the purpose….any thoughts would be appreciated :)

  6. Mary on March 27th, 2011 4:21 pm

    Dara, visualization isn’t for everyone one. It’s easier for some to do than others, simply because of how they process things, but usually if you continue to use it, you will get better at it. It’s not a necessity, by any means, to be able to visualize to get the benefit of meditation.

    Maybe a protective room is what you need right now — nothing wrong with that! Sounds lovely — a room of misty light where you sit on a beautiful pedestal. Since that is what has come to you, I think you can trust it and see what it holds for you. In the future, what comes to you will change as your needs change.

  7. Andi on May 22nd, 2011 7:51 pm

    Are you all referring to guided meditations? Where the speaker is basically guiding you through a scenario, like a desert or to a log cabin in the woods, or something like that? If so, I love those types of meditations. I have a hard time with coming up with visuals on my own as well, so having a guided visualization really helps me relax into the meditation and my mind doesn’t wander nearly as much.

  8. Mary on May 23rd, 2011 9:37 am

    Actually, Andi, our guided meditations that have visualizations are helping you to come up with you own visualizations. They are not the type that give you a lot of specific details to follow. There are certainly guided meditations like that, often called “guided imagery”. You are welcome to listen to our meditations for free on the Listen to Our Podcast page and see how you like them, but they are not the type you asking about.

  9. Salinya on June 1st, 2011 2:54 am


    I finished reading this post and I just wanted share that I just recently started meditation, and I always find it really difficult to focus on what the guide is trying to let me visualize. I figured something was wrong with me or maybe because I just started but it happens almost every time. I’m glad to find that there are other means to meditate and I don’t have to put up with something that doesn’t work with me. Thank you for this!

  10. steven bull on July 11th, 2014 7:02 pm

    I have found your website sometime ago. I have downloaded some of your guided meditations. I have found them very good. thanx, steve

  11. Mary on July 12th, 2014 9:13 am

    You’re very welcome, Steve. Glad you’re enjoying the meditations!

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